Friday free-for-all

As the wheels begin to turn ahead of a federal election that might be held later this year, a round-up of recent preselection news.

No BludgerTrack update this week as there were no new opinion polls, which might be an issue from time to time now that Essential Research has gone from weekly to fortnightly. Newspoll and Essential will presumably both report next week, followed by a week off for Easter. So in lieu of any polling to analyse, I offer one of my occasional updates on federal preselection action.

Most of this relates to Queensland, where a federal redistribution will formally take effect next week – not that you would notice, as my calculations at the time the draft was published last year found no seat’s margin had changed by more than 0.6%. Nonetheless, BludgerTrack will henceforth be using the post-redistribution margins for it seats result projections. Redistributions for Victoria and the Australian Capital Territory, which will each gain a new seat, and South Australia, which will lose one, are presently in their early stages, and are likely to be finalised around September.

• Following his appointment as High Commissioner to the United Kingdom, George Brandis’s Queensland Liberal Senate vacancy has been filled by Brisbane barrister Amanda Stoker. Stoker won a vote of the Liberal National Party state council from a field of 12, of whom the other reported frontrunners were Joanna Lindgren, who had a stint in the Senate after filling a casual vacancy in May 2015, but was unsuccessful as the sixth candidate on the LNP ticket in 2016; Amanda Camm, a Mackay regional councillor; Andrew Wines, a Brisbane City councillor; and Teresa Harding, director of the Queensland government’s open data policy and twice unsuccessful candidate for Blair. Stoker was a favourite candidate of religious conservatives, and emphasised the point by speaking at a pro-life rally on Sunday. In this she makes a contrast with Brandis, a noted moderate.

• Labor’s candidate to take on Peter Dutton in his Brisbane seat of Dickson is Ali France, a motivational speaker and former television producer who lost a leg in a car accident in 2011, whose father is former Bligh government minister Peter Lawlor. France is aligned with the Left, and won preselection ahead of the Right’s Linda Lavarch, former state Attorney-General and wife of Keating government Attorney-General Michael Lavarch, who cut Dutton’s margin from 6.7% to 1.6% when she ran in 2016. The redistribution has slightly improved Dutton’s position, increasing his margin to 2.0%. Since winning preselection, France has faced media scrutiny over her past pronouncements against offshore detention, which have since been removed from her social media accounts.

• The Cairns Post reports Elida Faith, of the Left faction Community and Public Sector Union, has won Labor preselection for the Cairns and Cape York Peninsula seat of Leichhardt. Faith first won endorsement to run as the Left’s candidate ahead of Tania Major, an indigenous youth advocate and former Young Australian of the Year, and Allan Templeton, an electrician. She then won the preselection vote over Richie Bates, a Cairns Regional Councillor and member of the Right. Leichhardt has been held for the Liberals and then the LNP since 1996 by Warren Entsch, except following his temporary retirement in 2007, after which the seat was held for a term by Jim Turnour of Labor.

• Jo Briskey, chief executive of parent advocacy organisation The Parenthood and a former organiser with the Left faction United Voice union, will be Labor’s candidate in the Brisbane seat of Bonner. Briskey won preselection ahead of Delena Amsters, a physiotherapist aligned with the Right. While Bonner is a naturally marginal seat, Labor’s only win since its creation in 2004 came in 2007, and it has at all other times been held by the present LNP incumbent, Ross Vasta.

• Anika Wells, a lawyer with Maurice Blackburn, appears set to succeed the retiring Wayne Swan in Lilley. Wells has Swan’s endorsement, and shares his alignment with the Australian Workers Union sub-faction of the Right.

• Zac Beers, former industrial painter and scaffolder and organiser for the Right faction Australian Workers Union, has been preselected for a second run at the central Queensland seat of Flynn, where he cut LNP member Ken O’Dowd’s margin from 6.5% to 1.0% in 2016. Beers won preselection ahead of Gordon Earnshaw, a worker for Bechtel Power Corporation.

• Andrew Bartlett, who filled the Greens’ Queensland Senate vacancy arising from Larissa Waters’ Section 44 disqualification last year, will seek and presumably win preselection in the lower house seat of Brisbane. This leaves the field clear for Waters to seek to recover her Senate seat. Brisbane has been in conservative hands since 2010, and has been held for the LNP since 2016 by Trevor Evans. Bartlett ran for the Greens in 2010, his first entry with the party after his former life as leader of the Australian Democrats.

Meanwhile in New South Wales, Labor has preselected its candidates for the Sydney seats of Banks and Reid, where it suffered historically unusual defeats in 2013 and 2016. In turn:

• The candidate in Banks will again be Chris Gambian, an official with the Left faction Community and Public Sector Union, who halved the 2.8% Liberal margin when he ran in 2016. The Australian reports Gambian won a preselection ballot ahead of Lucy Mannering, a lawyer and the ex-wife of former Australian Workers Union national secretary Paul Howes, by 139 votes to 116, as adjusted by the affirmative action loading. The member for the seat is David Coleman, who became the first Liberal to win the seat since 1949 when he gained it in 2013.

• Labor’s candidate in Reid will be Sam Crosby, executive director of Labor think tank the McKell Institute. Crosby easily won preselection ahead of local branch member Frank Alafaci, by 120 votes to 19. Reid has been held by Craig Laundy since 2013, when he became the first Liberal ever to win the seat.

Author: William Bowe

William Bowe is a Perth-based election analyst and occasional teacher of political science. His blog, The Poll Bludger, has existed in one form or another since 2004, and is one of the most heavily trafficked websites on Australian politics.

1,530 comments on “Friday free-for-all”

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  1. I thought Turnbull’s reaction was more incredulous that they admitted to it. Similar to Cash saying raids were politically motivated or Barnaby that yes he was in a relationship.

  2. “He came back down in one piece, too — a little dinged up and his steam-powered vessel a little cracked up.”

    Riding PB’s own Steelydan into the sky?? 🙂

  3. ajm:


    Seriously though, whatever happens with the Test and Smith and co, Abbott will be out and about reminding everyone that it’s #30 for Turnbull.

  4. The world desperately needs some good news and the anti-gun rallies might be the start of something big. That appearance by MLK Jr’s 9yo granddaughter in Washington is sure to be transmitted around the world as a symbol of hope for better things.

    “I have a dream” was a very emotive message when uttered all those years ago and here is hoping that it will inspire a new generation to challenge the political establishment not only in America but in Australia and other countries.

  5. j341983 @ #1488 Sunday, March 25th, 2018 – 8:15 pm

    For God’s sake… Putin’s reason for announcing his weapons and not not killing off opponents was that he was running for re-election. Putin cares a lot more about protecting his own backside than anything else. Why does he suddenly change his tune once the re-election is assured?

    Ignorant comment J

    There were number of reasons for Putin’s speech which I think i listed at some point. Electioneering was one of them but not the entirety. More to the point you do not need to announce six top secret weapons for electioneering. He could have announced two of them and certainly NOT those that the US were already aware of.

    Look Putin is a nationalist. He obviously cares about himself but I think all the evidence points to him being genuinely committed to Russia first. he could have been a Yeltsin and toadied the yanks and made himself a super rich and comfortable person.

    He did not. why not. For whatever reason he chose to put being a Russian nationalist ahead of his own personal position.

    So you need to analyse his statements.

  6. bemused says:
    Sunday, March 25, 2018 at 9:14 pm
    briefly @ #1487 Sunday, March 25th, 2018 – 9:12 pm

    And you support the Americans in their big whinge!

    ummm….I don’t support the whinging by either the US or Russia. The whinges are by-the-by and are predictable.

    I was noting this for the interest of the bludgers and because I’m also interested in Afghanistan. This country has been the subject of either Russian or US military interference since at least the 1970s. I’ve travelled there. I have Afghan friends here in Perth. I’ve worked with several others and watched with them as CNN broadcast the then-fatal bombing of their families in Kabul. I have past friends (now deceased) who, together with their families, fled the Taliban in fear of their lives and who spent most of their time subsisting in refugee camps in Pakistan, where they were effectively Stateless.

    Attempts to occupy and subjugate Afghanistan have many precedents, commencing with Alexander the Great, who, like the British, the Russians and the Americans also failed. Recent attempts at conquest have been very bloody and are surely also far from being concluded.

  7. “Labor’s primary vote has risen despite Bill Shorten’s tax plan as Malcolm Turnbull loses his 29th straight Newspoll.”

    “ALP getting away with tax grab”

    Beautiful headlines from The Australian

  8. No change to 2PP

    1m1 minute ago
    #Newspoll Federal 2 Party Preferred: L/NP 47 (0) ALP 53 (0) #auspol

  9. Labor 39 LNP 37, tpp 53-47

    “The tax gambit has failed to damage Mr Shorten with his satisfaction rating among voters lifting a point to 34 per cent, putting him two points ahead of Mr Turnbull who remained steady on 32 per cent.”

    Love the wording – maybe the tax gambit is the reason for the lift, Simon Benson?

  10. TPP ALP 53 (0) L/NP 47 (0)
    Primaries ALP 39(+1) L/NP 37(0) ON 7(0) GRN 9(0)
    “Malcolm Turnbull loses 29th straight Newspoll as Labor vote climbs” paywalled

    Labor’s primary vote has returned to the highest levels since Malcolm Turnbull rolled Tony Abbott for the Liberal leadership, in apparent defiance of Bill Shorten’s plan to axe tax credit refunds for more than one million pensioners.

    In what will come as a shock result for the Government as it heads into the final week of Parliament before the May budget, the Opposition has cemented its lead over the Coalition despite widespread anger over the Labor leader’s $59 billion tax grab.

    With the Prime Minister now one losing poll away from the 30 he used against Tony Abbott as a metric of failed leadership, Labor’s ability to lift its primary vote will unsettle Coalition MPs who believed that Mr Shorten’s policy of “robbing” one million pensioners would be the beginning of the Government’s political revival.

    An exclusive Newspoll conducted for The Australian, the 29th consecutive losing poll for Mr Turnbull, showed the Coalition trailing Labor on a two party preferred vote of 47/53.

    The Newspoll of 1597 voters conducted over the weekend reveals that the only change to people’s voting intention was in fact a slight swing to Labor which improved its primary vote one point to 39 per cent with the Coalition unchanged on 37 per cent.

  11. Analyse, yes. But you’re overanalysing to make it fit a world view.

    Of course he’s a Russian nationalist… so why would he do something that would almost certainly collapse the already precarious Russian economy. Whatever you think of Putin’s military strategy, he’s a small-target, small-bit by bit guy, you think he’s going to get himself entangled in a war against the US with Iran? It goes completely against his own self-interest and previous strategy.

    Again, follow your logic train. How does this help Russia? You think that’s ignorance, that’s your call.

  12. daretotread. says:
    Sunday, March 25, 2018 at 9:35 pm

    Putin is a secret military policeman in charge of a militaristic, authoritarian, anti-democratic, territorially ambitious and and essentially lawless neo-Imperialist State. He is committed to expanding Russia’s power and sovereign reach at the expense of its neighbours and their allies.

  13. Love this phrasing “Labor’s primary vote has returned to the highest levels since Malcolm Turnbull rolled Tony Abbott for the Liberal leadership, in apparent defiance of Bill Shorten’s plan to axe tax credit refunds for more than one million pensioners.”

    Surely the definition of a refund is getting back something you have paid – the plan is to axe tax credits being paid out of everyone else’s taxes where tax has NOT been paid!

  14. Leroy says:
    Sunday, March 25, 2018 at 9:43 pm

    Labor’s primary vote has returned to the highest levels since Malcolm Turnbull rolled Tony Abbott for the Liberal leadership, in apparent defiance of Bill Shorten’s plan to axe tax credit refunds for more than one million pensioners.

    In what will come as a shock result for the Government as it heads into the final week of Parliament before the May budget, the Opposition has cemented its lead over the Coalition despite widespread anger over the Labor leader’s $59 billion tax grab.

    …demonstrating that there is not “widespread anger” but rather widespread approval of Labor’s proposed reform; and that the LNP once again have been campaigning for Labor, as they so often do.

  15. Was getting all depressed about cricket – then Newspoll “thirty minus one” just popped up. It has certainly lifted my mood.

    As for the cricket – I have believed for some time that Test Cricket, which I have followed for a long time, could well disappear, or return to the status of some of the earliest tours – i.e. One Solitary Test at the end of a tour (not dissimilar to the Women’s Ashes recent series format)

  16. briefly – yes the Coalition talking heads and their friends in the media must have people holding placards in front of them with such gems as “taxable income”, lest they stray from their myth of “low (taxable) income” – just like in the negative gearing arguments before the 2016 election.

    People are not as stupid as the Coalition would like to believe, and Labor is winning the arguments about “fairness” time and again.

  17. Just saw a new headline on “The Age” website

    “The team that just doesn’t get it” – Greg Baum

    I thought it may have been about the “Turnbull Coalition Team” (that was what was on that strange election symbol in 2016 wasn’t it?) – but no it was the cricket again. Still, Greg Baum’s phrase equally applies to the Federal Coalition, and also to the team of people assembled at Newscorp to promote them.

  18. Well Rocket Rocket, listen to the summation of the Turnbull dysfunctional government in the NewsRadio interview with the former Australian Cricket Captain, Kim Hughes.

    Hughes IS representative of wider Australia, unlike our media which has vested interest.

  19. The percentage of voters affected by the proposed changes is in the realm of 2 or 3%. The majority of which were already with the LNP anyway. The typically Australian journalist can’t count.

  20. AR at 9:16

    I NEVER said I condoned any of it FFS!

    I said a) it goes on all the time – as many sport people will tell you and b) most deny, even in the face of being caught red-handed yet these guys admitted it immediately.

    I think the ‘leadership team’ should lose the captaincy permanently over this but in terms of it being a career-destroying event, I don’t think this rates as one. DuPlessis last year did it twice and was suspended one match … and is now captain.

    The other thing I do not like is that the South Africans have used every trick in the book to bait Australia. I know they shouldn’t have reacted but seriously, Most people on the receiving end of that behaviour they’d likely to retaliate after a while. The whole series has been one nasty action after another on both sides.

  21. Warringah pre-selection

    One would be disinclined to believe a report that Liberal Wets had recruited GetUP to organise a public meeting in North Sydney yesterday to discuss election options and a candidate for Warringah.
    But it’s true.

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